Tapir Pictures and Facts

I am making this page with tapir facts and pictures, because this animal has always been my favorite animal, and I simply adore the young ones.

        Tapir facts and pictures female tapir


Luckily for me the zoo in Copenhagen has a couple of Malayan tapirs, also called Skaberak tapirs (Tapirus indicus), and recently the female gave birth to a young tapir.

In South America lives three other species of tapirs, more about them later.

When I was a kid, I went to the zoo with my parents, and the best moment was when I could stroke the tapir on its grey/black back.

Now I have taken some photos of the tapirs, and I hope you will enjoy them as much as I do. This very strange and cute lookíng animal.

The Malayan tapirs are found in Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar and Sumatra, and in other places as well.

The largest population is found in Malaysia, and there are estimated 1500 - 2000 tapirs.

In Thailand they live in nature reserves, but the population is very small. The biggest challenge here is to avoid inbreed.

There is no genetic difference between the tapirs from the different locations.

You can read a lot more about the tapir here.

Here is a funny video with wonderful Tapir recordings. You can turn down the sound if you don't like it, but take a look at it for the great pictures:


The Tapirs eat:

Tapirs eat leaves, fruit, twigs, sea weed and herbs.

In the jungle, where the Malayan tapir lives, the best food is found high up in the trees, 26' over where the tapirs live.
The tapir eats the fruit that falls down and what else they can find on the ground.

The animals' excrements show that it mainly eats minor fruits and plants. By spreading their excrements they help spread the seed of these plants.

Tapirs are good swimmers, they love to bath and spend hours in the water if possible.

They often take a swim to cool down on hot days. Or they spend their day in mud holes, where they cool off, and the mud protects them against the insects and parasites.

Here comes some pictures from one of the first days the female tapir presented her young for the public in zoo.

As you can see from the photos the young one is striped. They are striped for the first 4-5 months, so they better can hide on the forest floor. They stay lying  on the forest floor while their mother go searching for food in the night, the first 2-4 months.

Isn't the young one just adorable? 

young tapir and it's mother

If you wonder what a Tapir sounds like, here is the answer.

The tapir uses high frequency sounds to communicate, as you can hear on this video.


After the first presentation of the little one the young began to investigate on it's own:



But then the mother tapir found that now they should better retreat to a more safe place:


Some more tapir facts:

The tapir emerged over 20 million years ago, and it hasn't changed much, only grown bigger.

The form and heaviness of the body works well with the tapir's way of life, when the animal penetrates through the dense undergrowth in the nightly search for food.

It's life expectancy  is approx 25 years, it's mature weight is 225-300 kg, and it's length 180-230 cm.

Their very flexible trunk is formed by the upper lip and nose, and they use it for finding their food when they are searching for food in the night. They also use it as kind of a finger, picking up the food they want to eat, and to pick leaves and twigs.

The Malayan tapir was earlier thought to be living alone, but it seems that they are often living in small family groups.

Finally here is a video that shows just how cute these animals are:


A couple more of interesting facts about the Tapir:

- The tapir has 4 toes on their front legs, but only 3 on their hind legs.

- You can make a tapir lay very still by scratching it's belly or the inner thighs.



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